Abigail guessed at the sailors place on the water relative to the docks, and marked several jettys as potential return-homes for the fisherman who had opened the door, ever so slightly, to her pursuit of seafaring knowledge.
She knew that there was a possibility that she had imagined the young man’s smile, but Abigail was more than confident that he had turned his head backwards, looking precisely in her direction. From such a distance, she couldn’t ascertain his exact features, nor did it mater much at that point, his gesture was a enough of a hope inspiring act for her yearning heart.
She wandered around the empty docks aimlessly until the time of her lessons, in which she engaged with uncanny zeal, welcoming the tutelage as an instructive interlude from the swirling thoughts in her mind. After her lessons were complete, her mother prepared buttery, sautéed tubers, and salted swordfish steaks that Zara had marinated in a liquid recipe the contents of which she had not yet disclosed to Abigail.
With several hours remaining until the fisherman were due to start returning to the docks, Abigail sought to remedy her restlessness. She decided that after spending time with her mother during her lessons, she would take equal time with her father, should he be available to see her.
She navigated to the other side of their house, and found herself met with a closed door to council and archive rooms. Abigail knocked gently, and heard muffled voices from the other side of the partition. The voices stopped. She waited. Half a minute passed, until she heard the sound of shuffling feet approaching the door. She heard a perfunctory clunk of metal, and the latch disengaged at the motion of the hand on the other side of the door. The door drew away from her and a shoulder covered by blue velvet accented with gold stitching peeked into the opening. An unfamiliar face emerged over the shoulder, and green eyes blinked at her from a face that bore a delicately manicured dark brown mustache.
“Beg your pardon sir. Is my father available?”
“Who is your father girl?”
“Allamar, he is the chief of the village. You may know of him?”
“Allamar! But of course. We were just engaged in, ahem…discourse. Who is the lovely lady I may report, is calling?”
“Abigail is my name. Has my father not shared these details with you?”
“Apologies, Abigail. I have only just arrived at this village. The urgency of my business required that I skip pleasantries such as introductions and family names. Since I now find my business temporarily delayed, to avoid further disruptive behavior, I should offer you my name, which is Geaneau, and bid you a good day.”
Being Allamar’s daughter, Abigail was not normally accustomed to any degree of sass, let alone by a stranger in her house. So she responded in kind.
“You are conducting YOUR business in MY house, and therefore, you should provide the simplest of courtesies, which I’m sure is not above you, Geaneau of whatever unnamed port from which you hail. Though you feel that your business trumps interruption, we will be letting the chief make that final determination. Now kindly inform my father that I wish to speak with him.”
Geaneau, clearly unused to being spoken to in such a matter, blinked foolishly at Abigail. His mouth opened and closed several times, rather like that of a fish out of water, while he digested her words, letting them rattle around in his brain while he fumbled for a response.
The best he could muster was a stammered, “Well, well, I suppose I could check and see if he is available?”
Geaneau left to fetch Allamar, leaving the door cracked open, and Abigail standing in front of it, feeling moderately victorious. When Geaneau did not immediately return, she feel a surge of curiosity and daring, and decided to push the door open slightly further, to peer into the hidden sanctum. A darkened hallway greeted her inquisitiveness, at the far end of which glowed a dim light. Just as Abigail took her first step into the hallway, a creak in the distant unknown halted her progress, with subsequent footfalls forcing her retreat.
She pulled the door closed behind her, as heavy thumps sounded on the floor beyond the partition. Shortly thereafter, the latch clanked open, and the door swung wide open before her, revealing her father’s frame.
“Abigail, what is so pressing?”
“I thought that we might visit. We haven’t taken a walk in a while. Perhaps we could see how the builds are coming on the edge of the forest?
“Now, atthis moment? Is this so important that you felt it necessary to interrupt my meeting?
“Who are you meeting with father? Who was that man? He was quite rude to me. Are there more people in there? What is it about?”
“I’m afraid I can’t answer all of those questions Abigail. This isn’t the same as your adventurous queries throughout the village, these men, and I, are not at liberty to disclose information pertaining to all to your inquisitions.”
“Do I not deserve something? Can’t you give me some insight?
“Not this time. When the time is right for you I will provide you with the knowledge that you need.”
“In similar fashion to the knowledge you’ve provided me of the sea? Or should I more accurately say, the knowledge that you’ve denied of me?
“That is a different topic. The knowledge of the sea has traditionally belonged to the men of the village. The roles of the fisherman, and those that support them have been unchanged for many generations. The long-term success of the village depends on our ongoing adherence to our traditions.”
“Fine. Return to your important discussions. We will talk of this another day!”
Abigail turned to depart, and Allamar stepped towards her. He wrapped his arms around her shoulders, and drew her to him in his powerful arms. Allamar placed a kiss upon her temple, and told her, “You are wonderful, and the light of my and your mother’s life. We love you, and are so very proud of you.”
“Thank you father,” Abigail muttered. “Love you too.”
It has been like this for some time. There have been strained interactions between us. I’m puzzled as to when they first began?
Abigail’s thoughts whirled as she left the house.
We have spent less and less time together. There always seems to be some meeting going on, or a new group coming into town. The village seems to be prospering, but our house does not feel the same.
I wonder why he won’t let me learn the skills of the sea? Is it really a tradition based decision?
Abigail approached the docks.
I shouldn’t let it bother me so much. There are plenty of things that I can focus on learning. But it’s the one thing kept from me, that has me most enthralled. I wonder if I should just focus completely on something else? Should I try to get something out of these meetings in which father is entangled? Perhaps the strange visitors can bring more books? Maybe they could provide writings on various topics that I have henceforth not explored.
Abigail sat herself on a column on the pier, and gazed out at sea. She waited for a long time, before seeing the first, tiny black shape appear at the end of her vision.
What if I am able to meet that daring fisherman who looked back at me?